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Poster: Jim F Date: Jun 22, 2010 12:26am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Caution Or Alligator

2/11/69 was the first Caution I'd ever heard, and it was one of the most amazing pieces of music I'd ever heard, and I began a messianic search to hear every version ever done. Every one of them is special in it's own unique way. I now have them all, but long for a day when the Fillmore West April 1970 reels pop up, if they even exist.

As for the "beginning" of Caution, I forgot to say that you really could start it by listening to Phil. Once that bass line pops up, you know you're in Caution. There is a Jerry lick that kindof coincides with that bassline, that sound he makes that I always thought sounded like a train chugging along.

That's one thing I've never been able to understand. The earliest Caution we have is from the 1/8/66 Acid Test tape (or perhaps the "Emergency Crew" studio sessions). Yet everywhere else, like in Phil's book, you hear the story about when they were on the train in Canada (I think) in 67 that they got the idea for Caution (Phil's book says something about him and Billy I think picking up on the sound of the train clacking on the tracks and that's where they got the idea). I don't know if it's because of a lack of surviving recordings, but Caution does seem to disappear after very early 66 and doesn't reappear until mid 67.

Personally I've always felt that the "1/27/67" tape is probably 10/22/67, as they both have the exact same versions of New Potato and Morning Dew that are on the SBD. And the general structure of Alligator>Caution fits into this timeline, similar to 11/10/67 (starts with the drum intro, has two drummers, both are the last time we hear the "da da daaaaaa" backup vocals by the rest of the band after the "ridin down the river..." verse, etc, the only slight difference is the placement of the "runnin round my door" segment, where in "1/27" they jam straight out of the vocal then wind down into the "runnin round my door" part). Jerry's tone sounds extremely similar, and Pig's prominent keyboards match up as well. That doesn't necessarily mean anything, but it nonetheless supports the October or November 67 theory.

Maybe there was another set on 10/22 that we just don't know about that wasn't taped via sbd. I could very well be wrong. But at the least I am pretty confident in saying that it is probably late 67, though. It is far too different from what we hear in 68 and is far too similar to what we hear in late 67. In the past people have claimed in various places (deadlists, etc) that Billy is the only drummer on both of these shows (10/22, "1/27/67"), but that is absolute nonsense, Mickey is clearly playing with them. I think at this point continuing to calling this tape "1/27" is blatantly foolish, but once a name/date gets attached to something, it just sticks.

Anyway, 67 does have some great 'Gators/Caution's. I like 11/10/67 a LOT. 8/4 is also great. 9/15 sounds so bad that I can't even listen to it. I think for me 2/14/68 will probably go down as the best Alligator ever.

The drummer chant was a big late 68/early 69 thing. I dunno why they tossed that in there, surely it was Mickey's doing. I think the first example of it is the very end of that long drum jam from 9/20/68. The first time it really goes into a jam is the 10/12+13/68 shows, which feature those odd little Alligator/Caution hybrid jams out of New Potato Caboose. I always got the feeling that if they were allowed to play longer sets at the Avalon, we might have seen some intense Caution's at those shows (same goes for the Jan 69 Avalon shows, the sets are much too short).

The piece of drums that followed the "drummer's chant" kinda reminds me of that thing they used to do right after the vocals in the later versions of The Eleven, where just the drummers would go through a short little rhythmic cycle, adding one extra "beat" each time. They rarely got it right and it usually always sounded sloppy, with Phil not sure when to come back in and whatnot.

Don't forget the Alligator from 4/23/69, that also has The Eleven sandwiched in there. Although we don't know the full story of 12/30/69, that also has an Eleven sandwiched in there as well. For me, 12/30 is really just the more developed/evolved version of 4/23, minus the Caution, of course.

I don't really consider the Lovelight from 6/14 as being sandwiched in Alligator, as they just do the Alligator vocals, head into Lovelight, then pass on a full Alligator jam and just charge into Caution. I mean sure, TECHNICALLY it's a sandwich, but the Alligator vocals are almost a throwaway compared to the jammage that follows.

Don't you just hate those Alligators where they do the vocals, do a drum solo, then head into something else? E.g. 5/24/69, 2/28/70, etc. I guess the only exception to that is 2/14/70, where they veer off into Me and my Uncle, then a HOT NFA (which really includes a typical-of-the-era Alligator jam with the bid theme and such), and then that Mason's Children, with it's glorious transition into Caution...

This post was modified by Jim F on 2010-06-22 07:25:13

This post was modified by Jim F on 2010-06-22 07:26:36

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jun 22, 2010 2:44am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Caution Or Alligator

As a '67 fan, I also adore the early Alligators....even 6/18, primitive as it is. (I think chronologically, it's our earliest Alligator. "5/5" is a wonderful show too, but I think it comes from later in the summer.)
And of course I also think the "1/27" show is from 10/22/67 or somewhere close to it. (Hard to say - if you just joined the two sets together, wouldn't it be much longer than a band would play in a day in '67?) Anyway, the "1/27" and 9/15 tapes are very challenging to listen to for sure, and not as rewarding as the '68 AUDs, even for me.
Lemieux pointed out in a recent Taper's Section that more of the August Toronto '67 shows were taped....but were then taped over! (He didn't mention what was so important it was worth erasing those shows for....)

Phil's story about getting the idea for Caution on the train ride to Vancouver in July '66 is so bogus.... It definitely predated November '65, and I'd guess it was born the moment the band heard Mystic Eyes.
What happened to Caution in late '66 is a good question. I have to think, with all our missing shows, it must have been played SOMEtimes. (Just like, did they really play Viola Lee only three times between March '68 and March '70? Don't think so.)
What's also interesting is, though Caution makes a triumphant return out of Alligator on 6/18/67, the Alligators from 8/5 and "5/5" and 9/3 just stop....then on 9/15, they finally commit to the Alligator>Caution segue for good.
(Although we do have that //Caution>feedback snippet thought to be from 9/4/67, another show that was also apparently taped over!)

It was mid-'69 when the band started playing Alligator by itself again, and a Caution was no longer guaranteed... And by 1970, the two songs were rarely played together. I also feel cheated when they go from the Alligator drum solo into some unrelated song, and skip the jam! (But what can you do?)

Speaking of the odd marriage between Alligator & the Eleven, 1/16/70 also has an example of an Eleven jam out of Alligator. And I'm very fond of the big 12/31/69 medley, with a nice Alligator>Caution>feedback that heads into Good Lovin', then they change their minds and do a full Eleven! Then 2/5/70 has that //Eleven>Caution - it's possible a missing Alligator preceded the Eleven....

As a sidenote - of course if those Avalon shows had been longer, we would've gotten more great music - sometimes the Dead seem to be racing to the finish as the clock ticks. But then, at those early Fillmore East shows like 6/14/68 or 2/11/69, they were also limited to an hour. Sometimes, when they knew they had limited time, it brought out their best.
It's funny that at their last Avalon show (4/6/69), the management pulled the plug on them during Viola Lee! (Weir: "It seems someone is trying to tell us something.")
Deadlists has an amusing note on the 4/5 Alligator:
"Jerry asks the audience, 'What do you want to hear that lasts 10 minutes?' Obviously he'd just been told by the stage manager that they had 10 minutes left. The following Alligator sequence runs 20 minutes, mostly on the strength of a monumental passage of feedback. Perhaps this has a bearing on the stage manager's draconian behavior in unplugging the Dead the following night during Viola Lee."

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Poster: tim_oz Date: Jun 22, 2010 3:44pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Caution Or Alligator

I thought this thread was going to drop off the bottom of the page but I'm pleased to see you added furthur thoughts to it LIA! I can see the value of the email notification for new posts as you can otherwise lose track as more and more new posts pile on top of each other.

All those misdated shows! Fortunately we have at least enough material to get a sense of how the year progressed, and can fit the misdated shows into a rough chronology.

Phil's train tracks story is clearly bogus, or his sense of time is way off(hmm!). Perhaps it sounded more romantic and glamourous to say it happened in a stoned moment while riding the tracks up to Canada! I'm sure there was a Bob comment somewhere about hearing Mystic Eyes on the radio in 65 and copping that for Caution. And if you listen to the Autumn Records Demo from 11/3/65 the whole essence of the song is there, including that railroad gait the rhythm exhibits. It's a shame they fade it out as it is getting into a nice groove. Even back then you can hear them tapping into something deeper. I suppose it is easy to analyze with decades of hindsight, but you get a sense that even back then in the very early days they had a wider emotional spectrum to their music than many other bands. You could move from the fun of Hi Heel Sneakers to reworkings of old jugband songs, obscure folk and Appalachian songs, and then into the primal voodoo stew to visit a mojo hand wielding gypsy woman. That breadth and depth is another way in which I view them as a truly psychedelic band - if you take the meaning of the word to be 'mind-manifesting', then anything to do with the human mind and psyche can cover the whole range of human experience and emotion, and this band really covered a lot of that range; from the light through to the dark and various points in between.

I agree with you on them most likely playing Caution in late 66. I often daydream about the gaps in 66, 67, and 68, and what we are missing. It is bittersweet as we are blessed to have what we do have, but it is easy to be greedy and want more! I sometimes wonder what we are missing...are there shows that blow away the ones we have that are considered the best for that era?!

I second your question -> what was worth taping over those shows for?!?!

I've recently been focusing on filling in the gaps of my collection for all the circulating shows from the 60s and am working my way through 1969. I'm fairly familiar with the first half of the year, though even that period I have a lot of gaps. The second half of the year is fairly new to me, having only heard 11/8/69 up until recently. In the last few weeks I've listened to 12/12/69 and 11/2/69, with obviously a lot more to go to get a feel for that period. I'm interested to hear more of the Alligators from this period, like the 12/31/69 one you mentioned.

They seemed to have had the power unplugged on them a few times!

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jun 22, 2010 8:10pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Caution Or Alligator

Yeah, there was a thread a little while ago about some misdated shows in early '68, too.... After that, dates clear up & chronology becomes more reliable, but in the early years, '66/67, tapelabels are just as likely to be wrong as right!
Some 1967 dates were tackled here:
http://deadessays.blogspot.com/2009/08/1967-dead-tapes.html

I'm also bitter about the gaps in those years.... Not until 1971 do we have almost every show for the year. It's awful that just as the Dead start getting much better in late '66, the tapes drop out; and in a year of extraordinary shows & progression, '67, hardly anybody tapes them at all... (It's quite possible that what we have was just 'average' for the time!) '68 is a bit better for the beginning & end of the year - but there's that big SBD gap in the middle, apparently the most crucial part of the year - in one end goes Anthem Dead, and out the other side comes Live/Dead - in-between, just a few fragments of jamming madness....

It is surprising how fully finished Caution is in early '66 - they didn't change it much in later years (until '72).
By the way, speaking of their range of songs in 1966, you've probably seen this:
http://deadessays.blogspot.com/2010/01/deads-1966-songs.html

Anyway, I feel like late '69 was a slump for the band, in terms of consistent show quality....a necessary slump though, in that they were shedding the Live/Dead setlists and adding so many new songs. That's a period where I concentrate more on 'best Dark Stars' than best overall shows, as there are many shows (like 8/30 or 11/2 or 12/4) where the Dark Star is so much better than anything else played.
But these are some other highlights -
7/7/69 - very strong free Atlanta show
8/3/69 - not for being a great show, but for being so unusual and freeform-jam-heavy
8/23/69 - for Constanten fans - he's actually loud in this one
9/29/69 - for the Seven
10/25/69
11/7/69 - more conventional than 11/8, but very high-spirited
12/5/69 - a good AUD for '69, with some unusual jams
12/29/69 - a rock & roll show, sounding more like '70 than '69
12/31/69 - "looks like the seventies are gonna be weird"

Other notable Alligators from this time we haven't mentioned include 7/11/69 (though sound quality is poor), and 11/1/69 (with a UJB jam), and of course 1/3/70.

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Poster: tim_oz Date: Jun 23, 2010 3:29am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Caution Or Alligator

Thanks for the links to your blog - yes, I have read those essays, and have them bookmarked as they are a great resource. I'm always interested in hearing other people's thoughts/analysis/research, particularly of the early days.

The gaps in 67 and 68 are particularly painful given how pivotal those years were in the band's development and the emergence and evolution of 'Grateful Dead music.' That's a good point about Anthem at one end and Live/Dead at the other. In between is the black box that we don't really know the inner workings of. From the sounds of the 5/18 and 6/14 tapes there must have been some wild shows in that period. Would love to hear what they could have done with Viola Lee in May, June, or July! The August shows seem more polished and the band's sound is well on the way to the more sophisticated Live/Dead era.

Thanks for the suggestions for the latter half of 69. This period does seem to have its share of rough and sloppy playing from what I've read, and the shows I have heard. Certainly 11/8 has that fantastic jam sequence, but the earlier part of the set is somewhat rough.

I enjoyed 11/2. Interesting mix of old, current, and new songs. I noticed that they don't play a Grateful Dead original until the 8th song, Casey Jones. I have heard a lot of praise for the Dark Star and it certainly warrants it. The highlight for me on this listening was the jam on the Dark Star theme prior to the 2nd verse. I found myself comparing The Eleven to the 11/8 version. These versions are not as energetic or intense as ones from earlier in the year. They are well played but mellow, rather than possessing the wild energy and joy of earlier versions. I do really like the final jam on the 11/8 version as it does get quite deep and intense. The final jam on the 11/2 version is good but too short for my taste as they end it fairly abruptly and transition into Death Don't Have No Mercy. Death Don't was the other highlight of the show for me along with the Dark Star. I found it a very soulful and controlled version. It doesn't shred or cut loose like some other versions but everything is played perfectly and with an expressive and mournful passion. I thought Garcia gave a great vocal performance on this version.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jun 23, 2010 12:30pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Caution Or Alligator

The energy & intensity of the playing does diminish steadily throughout the early years....a decline in one sense as the music mellows out, but you could see it as a tradeoff, energy for sophistication. Some of those last Alligator jams, like 6/6/70 or 4/29/71, are quite different from earlier Alligators.

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Poster: micah6vs8 Date: Jun 23, 2010 12:40pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Caution Or Alligator

LiA , I apologize if I'm as thick as a brick here , but is GDGuide your creation ?

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jun 23, 2010 4:59pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Caution Or Alligator

The blog I linked to is, yes.

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Poster: micah6vs8 Date: Jun 23, 2010 5:21pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Caution Or Alligator

Then I owe you a tip of my hat and a hearty thank - you . GDG has been one of my core reference sources . I have used the site for Years . I find it informative , thorough , and well written . This source , your work , has added quality to the GD experience for me . :)

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Poster: Jim F Date: Jun 22, 2010 11:59pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Caution Or Alligator

Don't have time to write a long reply like I did last time, maybe later, but quickly, I would highly recommend the Alligator>Caution from 12/12/69. It's one of my favorites. I think you get 3 heavy fans from Jerry in that one. Three!

Overall late 69 is a bit of a slump, though. Aside from a couple, like 11/2, 11/8, etc.

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Poster: tim_oz Date: Jun 23, 2010 5:07am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Caution Or Alligator

Agreed on the 12/12 Alligator > Caution. That one plays out very nicely. If I'm remembering the right version I think there is at least one section where Garcia lays out and there is a nice stretch of Phil and Bob jamming with the drummers keeping that percolating groove rolling along. Reminiscent of the beginning of The Eleven on Live/Dead.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jun 23, 2010 3:43am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Caution Or Alligator

Oh yes, 12/12/69 and 11/8/69 are the BIG Cautions of late '69, top recommendations....but then, those were two shows tim_oz said he was already familiar with, so I thought I'd toss a couple more obscure Alligators his way!

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Poster: tim_oz Date: Jun 23, 2010 5:19am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Caution Or Alligator

Alligator tossing...is that some kind of sport?!?!

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